Written by TheBigN
Blah blah blah one of the better shows of this season, blah blah blah good not great, blah blah where’s Lawrence’s Geass/Glam Sight (though this does get better over the episodes) blah blah blah OMG Horo’s so awesome(ly hawt). Now that that’s out of the way, more generic thoughts abound. 😛
Based on these opening episodes of Spice and Wolf, it seems as if the life of a merchant was hardcore in the England of a few centuries ago. Having few people to trust or trust you, worrying about getting shafted over a particular deal, needing good people skills, some street smarts and a bit of cleverness to get what you want and live in relative comfort, and so on. There’s even been some elements of the “Get Rich or Die Trying” philosophy, as there’s always risk of ruin or worse (and conversely, risk of success) in whatever deals are made (“In the city, you must fight to survive. He sold tortillas for a living”). Not to mention the threat of the Church, whatever that may be. It’s definitely a life that I couldn’t see myself living back then, but so far it’s a nice window into another lifestyle from the past. And the fun this is that when Lawrence and Horo’s current life is spun in different ways, we can see that these tenets are actually a pretty common way to live by in today’s world.
That being said, the entire economical banter of the series, which seems to be a focal point of Spice and Wolf, is something that doesn’t completely work for me so far. It’s great that we’re getting some idea about how money matters (a little microeconomics? Yay look at my limited knowledge :P) worked back in time. But I feel the same way that Horo does while Lawrence is trying to instruct her on the many types of coins that were to be had in the series when the subject turns to the subject of the Thoreni coins. Maybe it’s because there’s a lot of information about the coin system to handle at once as Lawrence states in one episode, and I can’t get around it, or that I could care less about the background info or the plans to use these coins to obtain more profit and power. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have little microbes explaining how things work, as Moyashimon has definitely spoiled me with that. As the wheelings and dealings are going on, I’m more interested in who’s involved and how things are executed. It’s fun seeing Horo persuasive skills and and Lawrence’s expertise in action when trying to work out deals in general, but when we get into the fine details, I’m lost, and I admit that I don’t like getting lost at all. It’s not something that a couple of scene rewatches won’t fix, however.
My favorite part in the series by far is the partnership and relationship between Lawrence and Horo. Both of them are proud, experienced individuals, and their attempts to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities to each other in what seems like a mutual attempt at one-upmanship is fun to watch. The pair seems to hit it off almost instantly, as their banter reminds me of how good friends would talk to each other. The fact that both of them easily display their weaknesses, troubles and emotions in front of the other also shows how close they already are (though some might say they’re getting too close too fast). I’d like to think that Lawrence and Horo’s camaraderie comes from the fact are both outsiders: Horo by being a wolf that’s lived for a long time, and Lawrence by job description as a solitary traveling merchant. Whether it’s from dependency for companionship, a mutual understanding from two people who have to go it alone in the world, or something else entirely, without that connection, Spice and Wolf wouldn’t be quite as interesting to me as it is now.
I doubt that save for Horo herself and the awesome OP and ED (the OP being much more awesome than the ED), Spice and Wolf will be a show that I’ll strongly remember. But if they keep up the main relationship and strengthen the roles of the side characters, it will definitely continue to be an entertaining ride. It may become a hard knock life for Lawrence and Horo, but as long as there’s always a slice of sunshine pie on hand, it shouldn’t be too bad.